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Harriet Serr (Piano)

Born: September 14, 1927 - New York City, New York, USA
Died: April 30, 1989 - Caracas, Venezuela

The American pianist and music pedagogue, Harriet Serr, made his debut as a pianist at the age of nine at New Yorks Master Institute Hall Master with works by George Frideric Handel, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and L.v. Beethoven and her own composition. She was a student of Isabelle Vengerova at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 1951. In the subsequent period she got numerous awards, including first the prize for students, later for artists of the Pennsylvania Federation of Music Clubs, the prize of the Philadelphia Musical Society, the prize for young musicians of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and the special prize for piano at the Steinway competition. On the occasion of her formal debut in New York in 1953, New York Times wrote: "She is already a mature artist".

Harriet Serr performed in North and South America with symphony orchestras under conductors like Eugene Ormandy, Mishel Piastro, Frieder Weiszman, Joseph Barone, Mario Dicecco, Angel Sauce, Antonio Lauro, Primo Casale, Gonzalo Castellanos, Jacques Singer, Vaclav Smetacek, Hans Priem-Bergrath, Victor Tevah, Eduardo Rhan, Jorge Mester, Stanislaw Wislocki and Eduardo Marturet, among others. Among her international appearances, should be mentioned her tours to New Zealand, where she appeared with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, made radio recordings and gave piano classes.

Besides her work as a concert pianist Harriet Serr was intensely devoted to teaching. She worked as an assistant of Isabelle Vengerova and was from 1953 to 1955 Piano Professor at Douglas College of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1955 she was entrusted by the Venezuelan Ministry of Education with the implementation of special courses for piano in Caracas. She remained in Venezuela for many years, to teach and perform. In May 1981, after over 25 years, she was heard again in New York, playing L.v. Beethoven and Schubert at Carnegie Recital Hall. Before her untimely death on April 30, 1989, she was honoured by the Venezuelan government with the Order of Andres Bello in recognition of her contributions to the music education and development of piano music in Venezuela. After her death, a Venezuelan Piano Competition, the Concurso Internacional de Piano Harriet Serr, was named after her. Among her pupils were: Monique Duphil, Karine Gil, Victor Hugo Alvarez, Ramón Humet, Felipe Peña-Dávila (1979-1989), and Arnaldo Pizzolante.

Source: German Wikipedia Website (May 2011) & Harriet Serr Blog, English translation by Aryeh Oron (June 2011)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2011); Felipe Peña-Dávila (Dates, July 2014)

Harriet Serr: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Harriet Serr (Wikipedia) [German]
Harriet Serr (Blog) [Spanish]

Pianis: Harriet Serr (NY Times) [May 1981]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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